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The Second Hut - Dorris Lessing

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by Martin Merschroth on 10 March 2013

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Transcript of The Second Hut - Dorris Lessing

Van Heerden <-> Mr. Carruthers The Second Hut Doris Lessing Introduction (Mrs. C is ill,
brother as help, Mr. C refuses) Mr. C employs Van Heerden as assistant. * 1919 in Persia -Doris Lessing Van Heerden lives with his wife and nine children in an old hut. awarded Nobel Prize
in Literature in 2007 Native workers complain to Mr. C that Van Heerden treats them very harshly. Carruthers forces his African workers to build up a second hut, as he finds out about Van Heerden's Family. The Hut burns down. Van Heerden's youngest child dies from his burns. Setting Fictious country of Zambesia
Carruthers & family live in an old and battered shack
Van Heerden's hut is in an even more miserable condition
South African countryside in contrast to the huts
indoors <-> outdoors Mr. C realizes that he is not cut out for this kind of life. He writes his brother asking him for a job in England. Timeline Overview Afrikaner, excellent at handling animals

strong, no fear of spiders nor ugly animals

has nine children and a wife

very poor

unhappy that he has to work for a British

Immoral "Well, one comes and another goes" Survival The Two men are complete opposites, both in physique and character.

Carruthers is tall and thin and considers himself to be a gentleman.
His actions are governed by his gentlemanly instincts (fairness and a sense of responsiblity), even when he senses that he may have made the wrong decision.

Van Heerden is strongly built and well-suited to farm work, and all his actions are governed by the fight for survival. Failure women in the colonies Mrs Van Heerden <-> Mrs Carruthers Had been a "pretty English girl"

She has given up hope and now spends her days lying in bed in her room.

She doesn't comprehend her husband's "stiff pride" and his refusal to ask his brother for assistance. accepts her fate stoically

looks after her young children Mrs Carruthers is unable to cope with the conditions on the farm, and as long as her husband refuses to give in, she has no hope.

Unlike Mrs Carruthers, Mrs Van Heerden doesn't question her fate, let alone give up. Instead, she stoically does her job as a wife and mother. Children The antithesis of the two families extends down to the children.
The Carruthers boys are pale, thin and nervous, whereas Van Heerden's children are compared to animals. Children are sharply contrasted, all children possess the same qualities as their parents. Carruthers = the Englishman, and present colonzier The African farm workers = twice colonized, once by the Afrikaners now by the British Van Heerden = the Afrikaner and former colonizer fair treatment respect mutual hatred boss worker triangular constellation
of the conflict "Van Heerden did what Major Varruthers would have died rather than do: he tore the web across with his bare hands, crushed the spider between his fingers and brushed them lightly against the walls to free them from the clinging silky strands and the sticky mush of the insect body." (p. 85 l 46-50) This incident emphasizes the difference between the two men: the one unwilling to harm the spider, the other squashing it without any repulsion. "...a sick wife who would not get better until he could offer her hope." (p. 80,l 3-4) Mrs Carruthers illnes is putting pressure on her husband to return to England.
Her health is a parallel development to Mr Carruthers succes. "She reminded him of a sow among her litter." (p. 87, l 55) Carruthers sees Mrs Van Heerden more as a female animal whose sole purpose is to reproduce and look after her young than a human being. Mrs Carruthers Mrs Van Heerden Carruthers vs. Van Heerden "They moved about the farm like two strained and anxious ghosts." (p. 81, l 45-55) "...playing good-humouredly with his children as if they had been puppies..." (p. 95, l 39) Children Conflict Links to other stories Sources: Interpretationshilfe - Cornelsen
"One Language Many Voices"

Cornelsen
"One Language Many Voices"

http://fsure.bplaced.net/fagabi12/dwnl/files/eng/4E-Abi-Zusammenfassung.pdf Husband and Wife An Outpost
of Progress An Outpost of
Progress

The Force of
Circumstances

Dead Men's
Path Narrative Structure The climax is reached by a failure of judgement on the part of Carruthers, which then makes him realize he does not have the sort of character to survive in Africa. the Force of
Circumstances the Force of
Circumstances

the Black
Madonna Carruther character has a sudden moment of realization, in which Van Heerden functions as a catalyst.

The Story is told by an omniscient narrator, the perspective is mostly that of Major Carruthers. Language and Imagery Symbolism is rare, but nevertheless present in the crushing of the spider and the building of the second hut Torn between what his family expected of him and his own inclinations.

Former british military officer. Considers himself gentleman farmer.

Treats workers with respect and dignity.

Helps Van Heerden's family, Feels responsible for their misfortune.

Moral attitudes

Major Carruthers can’t accept his failure
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